Enterprises across the globe are refreshing their network
equipment earlier in its lifecycle in a move to embrace workplace mobility,
Internet of Things, and software-defined networking strategies. In addition,
their equipment refresh is more strategic, with architectural vision in mind.
But despite the higher refresh rate, networks are getting less secure, largely
due to neglected patching.
These are some of the highlights in the annual Network
Barometer Report today by Dimension
Data. First published in 2009, the 2016 Network Barometer
Report was compiled from data gathered from 300,000 service incidents logged
for client networks that Dimension Data supports. Dimension Data also carried
out 320 technology lifecycle management assessments covering 97,000 network
devices in organisations of all sizes and all industry sectors across 28
Brent Angus, General Manager– Networking, Dimension Data Asia
“Since 2010, networks had been ageing. This year’s Report reverses that trend,
and for the first time in five years,
we’re seeing networks age more slowly. Ageing networks are not necessarily a
bad thing: companies just need to understand the implications. They require a
different support construct, with gradually increasing support costs. On the
other hand, this also means that organisations can delay refresh costs,” says
Angus, and points out that ageing networks are unlikely to support initiatives
such as software-defined networking and automation, or handle traffic volumes
necessary for collaboration or cloud.
According to the Report, in Europe,
Asia-Pacific, and Australia enterprises’ network age reduced in line with the
global average, while in the Americas, the number of ageing and obsolete
devices decreased much faster, from 60% in the 2015 Report to 29% in the 2016
Report. This can be attributed to the release of pent-up spend following four
years of financial constraint. Angus said clients in the Americas appear to be
refreshing networks with the new generation of programmable infrastructure. In
Asia-Pacific and Australia, equipment refresh occurred as part of data centre
In contrast to the global trend, in Middle East
and Africa, the network age increased, possibly the result of economic
uncertainty, particularly in South Africa.
Meanwhile, of the 97,000 network devices that
Dimension Data discovered, the number of devices that have at least one known security
vulnerability increased from 60% in the 2015 Report to 76% in the 2016 Report –
the highest figure in five years.
In Asia-Pacific and the Americas, networks are
slightly less vulnerable – respectively 49% and 66%, compared to 61% and 73% in
the previous edition. In Europe the rise in network vulnerabilities has been
very steep over the last three years, hiking from 26% in 2014 to 51% in 2015
and to 82% in the 2016 Report. Network vulnerability has also risen in
organisations in the Middle East and Africa over the last three years. In
Australia, 87% of network devices have at least one known vulnerability.
percentage of devices supporting IPv6 rose steeply from 21% last year to 41%
this year, due to the increase in current devices in networks. This allows
organisations with newer networks to support their digitisation strategies by
enabling connectivity for the Internet of Things, big data, analytics, and
networking is coming soon, but not just yet. While there is market interest in
software-defined networks, it’s early in the adoption cycle and today, few organisational
networks are capable of supporting a software-defined approach. In 2015 less
than 0.4% of devices could support software-defined WAN and only 1.3% of data
centre switches were SDN-ready.
response is 69% faster, and repair time 32% faster networks monitored by
· These numbers reduce by a further 55% and 36%
respectively, when combined with Dimension Data’s service desk integration.
of incidents are caused by configuration or human error, which can be avoided
with proper monitoring, configuration management, and automation.
For more about the 2016 Network Barometer Report click